Several new Bharatiya Janata Party allies, including Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas, O P Rajbhar-led Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party and the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular, will join a key meeting of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in New Delhi on Tuesday as the ruling party eyes a grand show of strength amid a get-together of opposition parties in Bengaluru ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
At least 38 parties are expected to attend the NDA meeting.
The Lok Janshakti Party-Ram Vilas became the latest entrant to the NDA with its leader Chirag Paswan meeting BJP president J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday.
"Chirag Paswan has decided to join the NDA led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I welcome him to the NDA family," Nadda said.
The Shiv Sena led by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, NCP led by Maharashtra Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal (RLJD) led by Upendra Kushwaha and the Jana Sena led by Pawan Kalyan will be among the new entrants that will be attending the NDA meeting.
Some of these parties had partnered with the BJP earlier as well.
"Thirty-eight parties have confirmed their participation in the NDA meeting to be held Tuesday evening," Nadda told reporters in New Delhi.
After losing a number of its traditional allies such as the Janata Dal-United, Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Akali Dal, the BJP has succeeded in making alliances with the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena, now recognised as the real party, the Ajit Pawar-led faction of the Nationalist Congress Party, O P Rajbhar-led SBSP in Uttar Pradesh and Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular and RLJD.
The BJP president has send invites to these parties for there presence in the meeting where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders of the ruling party will also be present.
"Ajit Pawar and I will be present at the NDA meeting in Delhi tomorrow," NCP Working President Praful Patel told reporters in Mumbai.
Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan and RLJD leader Kushwaha have said they would be attending the NDA meeting.
Parties such as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam of Tamil Nadu and a number of parties from northeastern states and other parts of the country will also be present in the meeting.
It will be the first such NDA meeting of this scale during the second term of the Narendra Modi government, underscoring the imperative within the ruling party to project its credentials as a lead coalition partner in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, expected to be held in April-May next year.
Regional parties, including those with small but solid share of votes in a particular region or caste, can be crucial in swinging the balance in the polls in several seats in states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which send 80 and 40 members to Parliament respectively.
With the BJP making all-out efforts to retain its majority in Lok Sabha for a third straight term, its leadership has made pragmatic adjustments to accommodate new allies while also working to weaken the opposition bloc in crucial states like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress on Monday asserted that the Opposition unity would be 'a game changer' for the Indian political scenario and took a swipe at the BJP, saying those who used to talk of defeating the opposition parties alone are now making attempts to breathe new life into the NDA which had become a 'ghost'.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on the two-day crucial deliberations of Opposition parties starting this evening, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suddenly remembered the NDA.
"Attempts are being made to breathe new life into the NDA. There used to be no talk about NDA and suddenly since the past few days we are hearing and reading about it. Suddenly, it was reported that an NDA meeting has been called for tomorrow. So NDA, which had become a ghost, attempts are now being made to breathe a new life into it," Ramesh said.
TMC leader Derek O'Brien said political parties at the Bengaluru meeting 'were clearly setting the narrative' while the 'BJP is reacting'.
He claimed that out of the NDA allies, eight do not have a single MP, nine have one MP each and three have two MPs each.